City considers playground move

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Do city officials want to move the Kingdom?

That seems a possibility after another discussion Tuesday overwhether the city will assume maintenance responsibility for theKids Kingdom community playground off Industrial Park Road. Cityofficials praised the playground as a wonderful project, but haveexpressed flood plain, liability, and other concerns related topossible city maintenance responsibilities.

“If we accept it, we don’t know what we’re getting into,” saidWard 5 Alderman Tom Smith.

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The alderman’s comments came during a discussion of whether thecity will pay $2,500 for a soil sample on the property. Cityofficials have been trying to get soil, elevation, and otherinformation before deciding a course of action on playground thatwas built almost a year ago on donated land.

City Clerk Iris Rudman raised a concern about the city payingfor the study. One suggestion last night was for Kids Kingdomofficials to assist in the study costs.

“It’s not ours. We haven’t accepted it, and it’s on privateproperty,” Rudman said.

The Brookhaven Parks Commission has expressed support for takingover maintenance of the playground provided the board of aldermenapproves the action first.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said the playground is in a floodplain and has flooded five times — including the day after it wasfinished — within the past year.

City officials said the playground needed to be on higherground. Mayor Bill Godbold suggested a location near the citytennis courts behind Lipsey School as one possibility.

Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill praised the community spirit andcooperation that went into building the playground. He, however,was also skeptical of the city’s ability to assume oversight of theplayground.

“It’s not something, I believe, that we’re going to be able todo where it is,” Massengill said.

Godbold appointed Massengill, Fernald and Ward 6 Alderman JohnE. “Buddy” Allen to a committee to meet with Kids Kingdomrepresentatives about a possible move.

“Where it is now is not going to work for the community,”Massengill said.

In another recreation matter, aldermen met with the parkscommission and recreation department officials in executive sessionfor personnel reasons.

Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates requested the appearance afterraising concerns at the last board meeting about how somerecreation personnel are located around the city. Last night,Fernald recommended the executive session if the discussion wouldinvolve personnel issues.

“We’re going to get into that,” Bates said before the boardvoted to close the meeting.

Aldermen took no action after the approximately 20-minutemeeting. Parks Commission Chairman Roland Wall described thediscussion as a “disgruntled board member getting some things offhis chest.”